We’ve all heard of Bridezilla, that common demon that seems to invade our sisters, cousins, or best friends around their wedding date – but this past weekend I had my first taste of the elusive Groomzilla. This character is an all-around dick – but the sad thing is that I’m not sure if this particular groom wasn’t already a dick to begin with. I spent the first quarter of the wedding feeling awfully sorry for the bride.
Here’s the kicker – the bride is my new sister-in-law- and the Groomzilla is my dear brother himself. He spent the week leading up to his wedding ostracizing around 3/4 of his family in one way or another, souring the days leading up to the wedding with threats of disownment, and petty insults directed at varying members of the family.
I am still having a hard time jumping over the fence into whatever new reality says that my baby bro is married. The kid I built elaborate forts with, wrestled our dad while decked out in hockey equipment covering every potentially ticklish portion of our body with, the little boy that I wrote scripts, directed, and shot feature length home movies with, the daring kid that I convinced to jump off the bridge above our hometown dam (but only if I went first), the kid that I persuaded to dance in a pink robe to “I’m a Barbie Girl” (This film ended up in the wedding, Thank GOD. Karma is a bitch bro, Karma is a bitch), the kid I hung out with nearly every hour with until I was about the age of 16 – simply because we had no choice but to be best friends in the environment that we grew up in. My right hand partner in crime for the formative years of my life.
And now, barely on speaking terms.
The funny thing is, this behaviour from my brother, Jason, isn’t new to me. I’ve suffered his “morality based” attacks for quite some time now, and it has come to a boiling point over the last few months. But, as I watched him tear up when he laid eyes on his bride for the first time, and as he tenderly held her hand, I couldn’t help but think about how much I wanted to enjoy this moment – how guilty I felt for being selfish enough to make this event even the slightest bit about our falling out. Frankly, I should be lucky to have gotten an invite to the affair – being as I was specifically left off the invite list to any of the previous events this weekend – but really – how awful was I to be not enjoying my own brother’s wedding simply because he didn’t agree with the way I lived my life.
To be clear, I am in love with an amazing woman. A beautiful, smart, confident individual that I am proud to call my girlfriend. But the reality of the world that we live in is that some people don’t believe in this way of life.
Wasn’t I being a hypocrite to begrudge him his beliefs? To hold him accountable for life choices that he truly believed to be correct? Wasn’t I portraying the exact attributes that I hated in him? The unyielding, I am correct, black and white, answer driven, fanatical, I will not be happy until you change, type?
Yes, I believe with ever fiber of my being that people should be able to love whom they love without any type of interference from others, but must I also expect them to accept this part of me when their belief system tells them not to? Must I also expect them to change this belief system for my benefit?
Do they believe that my loving another woman is wrong? Yes.
Do I believe that these convictions against homosexuality are wrong? Yes.
Do they expect me to change my life to adhere to their moral beliefs? Yes.
Do I expect them to accept me for who I am and love me regardless? Yes.
Is my asking for unconditional love a directive towards them to change their life to adhere to my moral beliefs? That’s where I’m confused.
The hardest part about this particular falling out is that I see no way to correct it without compromising on the beliefs that form my person, and I see no way for him to correct it without compromising on the beliefs that seem to form his person either. We both want the other to budge, because we both truly believe that the other is wrong.
So, where does that leave us?
I love Jason. I love my entire family, and I have always been the pacifist. I’m not saying I don’t have a temper, because holy hell, when this red head goes off it’s like Vesuvius directing its anger at Pompeii. You all better watch out. Thankfully, much like the volcano, those explosions are pretty few and far between. When I’m wrong though – I apologize and I work to correct the particular problem. To quote an assignment that my older sister had to write in school about a family member, (my mother gave me it years later when I was convinced that the older sister hated me), “She’s always the first to apologize – often times going to each of our rooms before bed simply to let us know she loves us.” I hate conflict. If I somehow can’t weasel my way out of it with every muscle in my body, I will instead work tirelessly to correct it. I’ll spend hours mentally turning the problem over in my head, viewing it from every angle I can think of – and more often than not realizing that the easiest way to correct it is to simply compromise on my end.
Sometimes though, this compromise isn’t an option. This is one of those times.
And as much as it tears me apart to hear my brother come up with more and more viscous attacks on my character and reputation, I can’t think of a way to build back a relationship that doesn’t involved voices raised much too high for comfort in each conversation we hold.
For the first time, I have come to a crossroads whereby either direction my feet take, I will lose someone I love.
All my life I have been the one to compromise. To set aside my desires in order to keep the peace. This time I can’t. This time isn’t a choice. I can’t keep falling back into a particular mold when I visit my family. I can’t keep lying. I can’t keep justifying their feelings by apologizing for something that I have no control over.
I love who I love – and maybe that is thicker than blood.